Digital Wisdom: A New Blog on Technology and Theology

Briefly this morning, let me recommend a new Patheos blog called Digital Wisdom. Though written by multiple authors, I know it best via Michael Paulus, the university librarian at Seattle Pacific University who was one of my hosts when I spoke at SPU’s faculty retreat last fall. “Within the last thirty years,” he wrote in the blog’s debut, “internet, social media, and mobile technologies have transformed the ways we interact with information, each other, and the world.” While these changes “raise fundamental and new questions about what we can know, what we may hope for, what we should do, and what it means to be human… the speed and scale with which digital technologies have been created and adopted has left little time for critical reflection on them and how we may integrate them into our lives intentionally.”

Digital Wisdom logoIt’s a problem I feel keenly as a teacher and scholar, but also as a citizen, father, and member of the church. My guess is that many of you do as well. So Michael and his colleagues plan to

explore a dialogue between the “digital,” by which we primarily mean new information and communication technologies, and wisdom. While our digital technologies are new, presenting us with new challenges and opportunities, wisdom—including wisdom about technology—is ancient. In particular, we believe the resources of the Christian tradition can help us move from a position of digital naiveté toward one of digital wisdom.

For example, earlier this month Michael drew on ideas from Miroslav Volf to sketch “A Theology of Technology for Work.” (Like me, he was inspired by the feast of St. Joseph the Worker.) For all the change we’ve experienced, “human work has depended on technology from the beginning,” but Christian theology makes work transformative in light of the promise of a new creation. Indeed, Jesus himself “the carpenter’s son and a carpenter—a τέκτων, or one who constructs or builds with wood—entered into the history of technological development and transformed it.”

One way or another, Digital Wisdom answers questions we all should be asking. I’m looking forward to reading more from Michael et al.